The Top 5 Vikings Players on the Free Agent Bubble

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The Minnesota Vikings have 25 players scheduled to hit free agency in seven weeks. This offseason is set up for mountainous change if the team’s general manager, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, is in the mood.

Minnesota has about $26 million in available cap space as of January 15th, which can fluctuate depending on Harrison Smith’s status and other players’ contract restructuring.

The Top 5 Vikings Players on the Free Agent Bubble

And with free agency 50 days away, these are the five Vikings players on the bubble, ranked in ascending order of importance (No. 1 = most important).

5. D.J. Wonnum (OLB)

on the Free Agent
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Wonnum sashayed into the Vikings’ 2023 starting lineup after Marcus Davenport hurt his ankle and promptly thrived. Folks were skittish about his long-term sustainability, but as the season wore on, he proved his worth as a spot starter.

Then, he tore his quad, casting his impending free agency totally into doubt. Unfortunately for his sake, his price plunged, so the Vikings could re-sign Wonnum for Season No. 5 at an affordable fee. And in an offseason where Minnesota has zero starting EDGE rushers on paper, re-upping with Wonnum could be around the bend.

4. Jordan Hicks (LB)

Track for Defensive
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Hicks played quite wonderfully in 2023, a total reversal of his performance under 2022 defensive coordinator Ed Donatell. He banked a 74.5 Pro Football Focus grade and battled back valiantly from compartment syndrome in December.

But he’ll be 32 this summer, and the Vikings must decide if he, Brian Asamoah, or a younger free-agent off-ball linebacker is wiser for the future.

Thankfully, if Minnesota wants a third act from Hicks, off-ball linebackers are usually affordable.

3. Dalton Risner (OG)

Newcomer Viking Really
Former Denver Broncos offensive guard Dalton Risner on Monday Night Football during his first start with the Minnesota Vikings. U.S. Bank Stadium, October 23rd, 2023. Risner started for an injured Ezra Cleveland.

Risner will probably return to the 2024 Vikings, but there’s always a chance that his asking price will inflate and become too rich for the Vikings’ blood.

The offensive line hit stride with Risner at left guard, and the franchise should absolutely explore signing him to a long-term contract. However, if he starts asking near $8 million per year or so, well, that may not be in the budget.

This one is all about price.

2. Danielle Hunter (OLB)

Hunter Trade Rumpus
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Hunter has said a few times that he wants to finish his career in Minnesota, and in all likelihood, the Vikings will oblige.

Nevertheless, the next guy on the list could absorb a large chunk of the salary cap, meaning Hunter might be a cap casualty. It is unclear if the Vikings have the nimble navigability to re-sign Hunter, Justin Jefferson, and Kirk Cousins — and then sign more impactful free agents. At some point, something’s gotta give, and someone is the odd man out.

It likely won’t be Hunter, but placing him on the free-agent roster bubble is responsible for the purposes of this analysis.

1. Kirk Cousins (QB)

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The almighty Vikings domino — re-sign Cousins for 1-2 years or let him explore free agency? Cousins is returning from a torn Achilles and will turn 36 in August. Per NFL worth, his next contract should be at least $40 million per season. Daniel Jones “ruined” it for other teams’ budgetary planning while setting the market for all quarterbacks, regardless of tier.

Everything about the Vikings’ offseason, future, and salary cap starts and ends with the impending decision on Cousins. He’s the quintessential roster-bubble guy.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by